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DC TV Shows That Were Canceled Before They Were Even Made

Flip through any DC comic book and point to a random character on the page. Chances are that hero or villain was earmarked for a DC TV show once upon a time. Throughout the years, fans have become all too used to an announcement about an exciting new series being in development (in some instances, the showrunners and actors have been revealed as well). Unfortunately, all this euphoria often leads to disappointment as these productions crash into a pit on the boulevard of broken dreams, becoming nothing more than what-ifs for everyone to ponder.

It's no secret that DC's film, television, and games visions are in a major state of flux as James Gunn and Peter Safran — the heads of Warner Bros' new DC film and TV division — try to map out a more coherent future for the franchise. At the end of the day, DC Studios wants fewer announcements that lead nowhere and more entertainment that appeals to the fans of these characters. Nonetheless, it's difficult to not get a lump in the throat at the thought of some of these tantalizing projects that never got to see the light of day. Whether they would have been good or not — or even lasted beyond a single season — is another story altogether.

Seth Grahame-Smith's Green Lantern

In the live-action world, DC hasn't had a lot of luck with the Green Lantern. First off, the 2011 film starring Ryan Reynolds, which was meant to kickstart the DCEU, flopped at the box office and made $219 million from a $200 million budget (via Box Office Mojo). Then, the attempts to introduce the hero in the Arrowverse were largely a start-stop affair, as The CW never fully unleashed John Diggle as the new Green Lantern. There seemed to be some hope on the horizon, though, as the Arrowverse's mastermind, Greg Berlanti, began work on a "Green Lantern" TV series for HBO Max in 2019, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Here's what we know so far — Berlanti brought in Seth Grahame-Smith as a writer and showrunner for the series. Grahame-Smith is no novice to the comic book adaptation side of things, having written the story for "The Lego Batman Movie." The showrunner got to work on the "Green Lantern" show, and two leads were cast in the shape of Finn Wittrock and Jeremy Irvine as Guy Gardner and Alan Scott respectively, per Deadline. The show would have featured other Lanterns from the comics, as well as a new Lantern named Bree Jarta. 

Grahame-Smith completed eight episodes for the first season, however in October 2022, a decision was made to pivot in a different direction and make the show about John Stewart, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The showrunner departed the show thereafter.

HBO Max's Constantine

The launch of HBO Max in 2020 ushered in a wave of excitement from DC fans. As Warner Bros.' official streaming service, it would need a wealth of content to attract and retain subscribers, so part of the grand plan was to utilize DC's properties to create new exclusive shows for the platform. In 2021, Variety announced that a "Constantine" series was being developed by J. J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions company. Reportedly, it would have formed a part of the "Justice League Dark" world that Abrams was set to build out for HBO Max.

There were also rumors floating around social media that "Gangs of London" star Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù was in line to portray the Hellblazer on the show, however, the actor told NME in October 2022 that he was "never going to play that role," though he stopped short of discussing if he had been cast for another role in the series.

In September 2022, something that no one could have had on their yearly bingo card happened: a "Constantine" sequel to the 2005 film was announced. As per Variety's report, Keanu Reeves would return to portray the lead character on the big screen. Simultaneously, the film's announcement also signaled the death knell for HBO Max's "Constantine" series.


The DC Universe streaming service was an ambitious but short-lived project. It was meant to serve as the one-stop shop for all things DC — film, television, and comics — but it was rebranded and changed to focus solely on comics in 2021, as per The Hollywood Reporter. As a result, there were several projects that fell along the wayside, with one of the more interesting propositions being a show called "Metropolis."

As reported by Deadline in January 2018, the drama series was meant to act as a Superman prequel that would have followed Lex Luthor and Lois Lane in the infamous city as they explored the mythos of this part of the DC Universe. The brains behind "Metropolis" were John Stephens and Danny Cannon, who had been the executive producers on the Fox series, "Gotham." 13 episodes had been ordered in 2018, with plans for the show to air in 2019. However, Deadline later reported that the show went into redevelopment in May of that year. 

In 2019, though, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the show had been canned, despite no official announcement from DC about the project's status. That said, it's safe to say that whichever incarnation of the series was planned back then is all but dead in the water now. Perhaps some of the ideas for the show might be utilized for future Superman adaptations.

SyFy's Lobo

Having debuted in "Omega Men" #3 in 1983, it took Lobo 36 years to make his live-action debut in the second season of the SyFy series "Krypton." The Main Man is portrayed by Emmett J. Scanlan, who embraced the character's wild nature and won over many fans who had doubted his casting at first. However, Lobo's appearance in "Krypton" was meant to serve as a backdoor pilot for his own show. According to Deadline, Scanlan had signed on to star in his own solo series in 2019, which would have featured "Krypton" executive producer Cameron Welsh as an executive producer and writer for the spinoff.

Unfortunately, the ratings for Season 2 dropped dramatically, (per Deadline), and "Krypton" was canceled in 2019. Due to the show being expensive to produce and not enough people tuning in, Syfy decided to cut ties and send Seg-El and his pals packing to The Phantom Zone. Sadly, the "Lobo" TV series ended up being collateral damage in the process and all plans were fragged.

In an interview with CBR, Scanlan reflected on playing Lobo, saying the character was the perfect merger of Wolverine and The Joker. He added how thinking about the Main Man brings back fond memories; however, he is disappointed that his run ended so unexpectedly.

Green Arrow & The Canaries

"Arrow" birthed many shows, such as "The Flash" and "DC's Legends of Tomorrow." Season 8, Episode 9, ("Green Arrow & The Canaries") was meant to serve as a backdoor pilot for a future spinoff series of the same name on The CW. The storyline was set in 2040 where Oliver Queen's daughter, Mia (Katherine McNamara), takes up the Green Arrow mantle and teams with the Canaries — Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) and Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy) — to take down the baddies.

In January 2021, the plug was pulled on any potential "Green Arrow & The Canaries" series as The CW decided not to go ahead with it, according to TVLine. Soon after, "Arrow" co-creator Marc Guggenheim revealed on Twitter that the decision had been made much earlier than that date and was largely influenced by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cassidy wasn't too shattered by this turn of events, though, as she explained to ComicBookMovie.com in April 2022: "I say this in the most respectful, kind, realistic way ... We really, really milked that cow." She added that she would have enjoyed doing the show and appreciated her castmates, but it was also important to do something else and different.

TNT's Teen Titans

There's a reason the "Titans" TV series doesn't have "teen" anywhere in its title — not many of the characters are actually teenagers in the show. That's okay, though, because the adaptation is darker and takes the storytelling in a more mature direction than the comics ever did. However, there are many "Teen Titans" fans who would love nothing more than to see a live-action adaptation of the beloved, youthful team and all their exuberance. And it almost happened before "Titans" received the green light.

As reported by Variety, TNT had planned to make a "Teen Titans" show that centered around Dick Grayson and his transition from Robin to Nightwing in 2014, with Marc Haimes and Akiva Goldsman being two of the executives attached to the project. In 2016, former TNT president Kevin Reilly announced the production had been shelved and would not take flight on TNT. The Titans lived on, though, and finally received their own show — which Goldsman co-created — first airing on DC Universe then moving over to HBO Max from Season 3.

The CW's Amazon

The superhero boom in the 2010s inspired networks and studios to get in on a piece of the action. Considering the success of the '70s "Wonder Woman" TV series starring Lynda Carter, executives must have been salivating at the thought of trying something similar in a more lucrative, modern era. In 2011, a pilot for a new potential show was produced, which starred Adrianne Palicki as the titular hero; however, it was never picked up. A year later, Vulture reported that The CW was eyeing a series that would follow a young Diana Prince before she became Wonder Woman. The working title for the show was "Amazon," and it was set to be written by Allan Heinberg.

For a few years, murmurs about the project occasionally popped up and the show remained a possibility, but it all went ice-cold after the confirmation that Gal Gadot would portray Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe. The CW's former CEO Mark Pedowitz revealed at the 2017 TV Critics' Association (via IGN) that the network ceased all plans to take a stab at "Amazon" after the success of Gadot's Wonder Woman had ended any chance of it ever happening.

Static Shock

The superhero Static captured the public's attention with the release of the "Static Shock" animated show in 2000. Running for 52 episodes, fans fell in love with Virgil Hawkins and how he balanced the crime-fighting life with the trials and tribulations of being a teenager. The goodwill of the series resulted in many people wondering when a live-action version of Static would debut — either in television or film.

In 2014, Warner Bros. unveiled a new division called Blue Ribbon Content, which would be responsible for creating shows and cartoons for the studio, per Variety. One of the first projects announced for this venture was a live-action "Static Shock" show created by director, writer, and producer Reginald Hudlin. A year later, in an interview with Flicks and the City, actor Tyler James Williams suggested that Jaden Smith had already been cast as the lead hero for the show.

As interesting as the show sounded, it never seemed to go anywhere — undoubtedly, it was one of the casualties of the shake-ups, mergers, and repackaging of DC projects that took place after the series' initial announcement. The idea for the show appears to have morphed into a film, as it was announced in March 2021 that Hudlin and Michael B. Jordan would be producing a live-action "Static Shock" movie, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Hawk & Dove

For three seasons, Hawk and Dove were an important part of "Titans" as everyone's favorite and fearsome crime-fighting couple. After Jason Todd clipped Hawk's wings, Dove also fluttered away from the series. Actor Alan Ritchson revealed to Entertainment Weekly in September 2021 that it wasn't his decision to leave the show, but a choice made by the creative team and producers who needed to cut down the number of cast members.

Discussing his experience on "Titans," Ritchson shared some important details about the characters of Hawk and Dove, and how they were originally supposed to feature from the inception. "My initial deal was for two episodes, and I had a separate deal for a Hawk and Dove spin-off," he said. "And when we shot those two episodes, they really enjoyed us as Titans and invited us to join more episodes in the back half of the first season." Ritchson added he believed the chances of a spinoff were always unlikely if the characters were a core part of the Titans team, but he was told that it would happen since they were so popular on the show. Unfortunately, the spinoff never materialized.

Wonder Girl

The CW's Arrowverse proved that it wasn't afraid to take risks on relatively newer DC characters, such as Naomi. In fact, there was even a plan to create a "Wonder Girl" show (via Deadline) about Yara Flor — a hero who is a half-Amazonian and half-Brazilian rain god. Flor hadn't even made her debut in DC Comics at the time of this announcement in 2020. However, she had been deemed compelling and interesting enough to get her own show.

Unfortunately, it felt like the brakes were pumped on the series before it had even gotten out of first gear. Co-showrunner and writer Dailyn Rodriguez broke the news about the cancellation of "Wonder Girl" on her Twitter account in February 2021, writing: "So some sad news. For all of those asking, Wonder Girl is not getting picked up at the CW. I was very proud of the script I wrote. Wish I could've shared the world I created, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. Thanks for everyone's enthusiasm. It meant a lot to me." Yara Flor went on to make her official debut in "Dark Nights: Death Metal" #7, which was released in January 2021.

Strange Adventures

August 2022 was a tumultuous time for DC fans as the new leadership of Warner Bros. Discovery took the hammer to various projects. It all started with the shocking cancellation of the "Batgirl" movie, which was deep into post-production before the execs drove nails into the coffins of other DC properties in different stages of development. "Strange Adventures" — which was set to be an anthology series that focused on DC characters that weren't named Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman — was also revealed to be off the table around this time.

However, the news of the show's cancellation was actually broken by filmmaker Kevin Smith on his podcast "Hollywood Babble-On." Smith explained he had been working on an episode for the show that would have featured Bizarro and Jimmy Olsen. He added that he was trying to secure Nicolas Cage's services to portray Bizarro, which would have certainly been a coup for the production. In a follow-up article, The Hollywood Reporter cited its own sources that said the project had been silently canned months before the WB-DC purge.

Madame X

In the comic books, Madame Xanadu is a well-known and powerful sorcerer in the mystic part of the DC Universe. It might have taken a while to happen, but the character eventually made her live-action debut in 2019's "Swamp Thing" TV show, where she was portrayed by actor Jeryl Prescott. While it would have made all the sense in the world to spin off the character from that series into her own solo vehicle, the controversial axing of "Swamp Thing" ended this iteration of Madame X before she even had a chance to say "Abracadabra."

However, J. J. Abrams and his production company, Bad Robot, had other ideas, which would have incorporated Madame X into their vision of DC shows on HBO Max. As per The Hollywood Reporter, Abrams' end goal was to create a "Justice League Dark" franchise for the streamer where multiple characters would have had their own programs. One part of the overall puzzle was a "Madame X" series that would have been helmed by writer, director, and producer Angela Robinson. Unfortunately, the turbulence at Warner Bros. Discovery and its upheaval of DC programming in 2022 claimed yet another victim in the shape of the "Madame X" show, according to Variety.